The neurology department at Memorial Healthcare delivers compassionate care to patients who suffered a stroke. Patients throughout Shiawassee County and its surrounding areas rely on these care services to manage their symptoms, receive treatment, and maintain a higher quality of life following a stroke.
What Is Stroke?
Stroke is a leading cause of death and disability in the United States. The disease occurs when blood clots or ruptures obstruct an artery’s ability to transport oxygen and nutrients to the brain. Without an adequate supply of oxygen, brain cells die, causing serious complications for the sufferer.
As with other medical conditions, stroke comes in multiple forms. Stroke types are categorized by their different causes, which may inform the treatment a patient receives. Patients may experience the following strokes:
- Ischemic Stroke (Clots): When blood vessels carrying blood to the brain are blocked, a person experiences an ischemic stroke. According to American Stroke Association, this condition makes up 87% of all strokes.
- Hemorrhagic Stroke (Bleeds): This form develops when diminished blood vessels rupture and most often occurs when a patient has unmanaged high blood pressure. In general, hemorrhagic strokes stems from two weakened blood vessels—aneurysms and arteriovenous malformations (AVMs).
- Transient ischemic attack (TIA): Also referred to as a mini-stroke, this disorder comes from a temporary, yet severe, clot. Medical professionals view the transient ischemic attack as a warning-sign stroke and take it seriously.
- Cryptogenic stroke: While stroke usually arises when a blood clot clogs blood flow, sometimes doctors cannot identify the exact cause of the stroke. In this situation, the patient has a cryptogenic stroke.
- Brain stem stroke: A brain stem stroke impacts both sides of the body and can place the sufferer in a “locked-in” state. This condition often leaves a person immobile below the neck and unable to talk.
The brain is an essential organ that controls many body functions. Therefore, a stroke can result in numerous debilitating complications. Effects have an inverse relationship with the portion of the brain where the stroke originates. In other words, a stroke occurring on the left side of the brain impacts the right side of the body and vice versa. Consider the different effects patients will experience depending on where the stroke develops:
- Memory loss
- Speech difficulties
- Cautious and deliberate behavior
- Memory loss
- Trouble seeing
- Hasty and questioning behavior
Exceptional Stroke Care at Memorial Healthcare
Memorial Healthcare works diligently to augment care services for stroke patients. The department spent several years addressing its continuum of care for these patients, looking at dispatch, emergency medical services, radiology, laboratory, inpatient, and rehabilitation resources.
These efforts helped prepare for a rigorous review conducted by The Joint Commission. This organization provides accreditation and certification to healthcare facilities displaying the highest quality of care. Led by Rebekah Hackenberg, the certification process involved a thorough examination of how well the hospital accessed, diagnosed, and treated patients with stroke symptoms, ultimately leading to the Gold Seal of Approval. The criteria for this certification include:
- A designated program for stroke patients
- Qualified medical professionals with sufficient training in stroke care
- Patient access to in-person or remote (telemedicine) stroke expertise 24/7
- Transfer agreements with healthcare organizations delivering primary or comprehensive stroke services
- Ability to provide laboratory testing and quick diagnostic testing to simplify intravenous (IV) thrombolytics for qualifying patients 24/7
- A strong relationship with local emergency medical services that teaches staff effective communication skills and aptitude using field assessment tools before serving patients with strokes in emergency settings
- Frequent data analysis to improve the level of care for stroke patients
- A streamlined approach to patient information that protects their privacy, rights, and security
“Our entire team of experts, from front-line staff to the boardroom, has dedicated years to ensure this distinguished certification became a reality for Memorial Healthcare and our patients,” says Brian Long, FACHE, President and CEO of Memorial Healthcare. “We take a tremendous amount of pride in offering our patients access to the highest quality of care possible, and this certification illustrates the cutting-edge level of care patients can expect from the Memorial Healthcare team when they come to our facilities.”
In addition, Memorial Healthcare received the Heart-Check Mark for Acute Stroke Ready Hospital Certification, which recognizes the facility’s dedication to supporting better outcomes for stroke patients.
Due to its efforts to enhance stroke services, Memorial Healthcare has accomplished outstanding results during the first “golden” hour, when patients come into the emergency department with stroke symptoms. The hospital implements telestroke capabilities to deliver expert consultation on administrating Alteplase, a clot-busting medication that can save lives. Additionally, Memorial Healthcare is capable of moving patients to nearby comprehensive stroke centers if necessary.